From the blog

A thesis on the field in Nairobi

I am Federica Palumbo, student of Management at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milan. When I finished up all my university exams, it was time to decide what to do about my thesis work. I didn’t really have a specific topic to talk about, the only thing I was sure of, was that I didn’t want to carry out the usual theoretical study work. I wanted to do something new, something that I could be passionate about.

I found a way, when I came across the opportunity of going to Africa with E4Impact and having a concrete field experience. There I could have reached out to the local entrepreneurs of the MBA program and interviewed them to gather data that reflected reality. The idea of having this chance, along with the possibility of experiencing a different culture and way of living, sounded exciting to me. I thought it could have been remarkable living on the field and collecting data on my own rather than carrying out an ordinary research on the Internet. This is what brought me to Nairobi (Kenya) for about 3 weeks, with the aim of bringing an additional value to my future thesis.

Wandering around the city and trying to contact entrepreneurs, whose business was related to the topic of my case study work, made me get to know a welcoming and friendly population, open-minded and always willing to help others. What surprised me the most was the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset showed by Kenyan people of any social class: from people who owned kiosks along the streets to the ones that owned a more-developed business with a large team of employees.

My experience couldn’t have gone better, from both the professional and personal point of view. At the end of my university path, it was great to submit a thesis work that was completely fruit of my labor in every step, from the data collection to the conclusions I could draw. Moreover, the personal added value that local people gave me is something that I could never forget.

Federica Palumbo


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